In thinking about the last school year, I'm just so proud of what my students have accomplished! My 7th graders celebrated Earth Day by adding our compost we had been developing from the beginning of the year to some newly planted trees.
Both 7th and 9th graders took amazing risks this semester. Several of them took on the challenge of stop animations using iMotion HD and Stop Motion Studio for some of our projects. They did above and beyond what I expected! My 9th graders also had the opportunity to present their antiseptic data to our custodial staff and MYP coordinator and made suggestions for cleaning products to use next year.
Our last units for both grades was to create content for an iTunes U course called "Under Our Feet." I am very proud of the collaboration they did between grades. 7th graders made iBooks (linked in the iTunes U course) about biomes while the 9th graders created content to teach others about impacts on each ecosystem. I am very proud of their work!
It has been such an awesome year. The goals that I have set for myself came to fruition. Below is my response to one of the essay questions I answered for the Teacher of the Year Nomination. I think it sums up how I feel in the most appropriate way:
"My heart is full of joy each and every day I come to work. If at the end of the day I have made a difference in one child’s life then I consider it successful. Westlake Academy allows me to find my joy and make a difference in children’s lives and for that I am so very thankful.
Even before becoming an IB educator, my heart echoed its philosophy. Belonging to this community allows me to fulfill what is in my heart and to guide others down the same path. I am able to influence children’s lives to be curious thinkers in the vast world of possibilities. I create opportunities for inquiry, critical thinking, and find ways to solve problems in a world of science that sometimes has no answers. My classroom is a safe place to make mistakes, take risks to find solutions, and explore controversies that exist in science and the world beyond. I encourage open communication from students and parents because together as a team we can affect change in each other, our community, and world. I promote open-mindedness in my students to listen to one another and effectively share differing views. I demand respect and honesty from my students and expect them to take responsibility for their learning and actions. I see my students as knowledgeable and expect they have a desire for more. However, I know that life can be challenging and understand the demands of other activities. My students know that finding balance is just as important as their studies. I encourage students to be reflective on what they know and do not know. Risk-taking gives them permission to learn, make mistakes, and even fail because some of life’s biggest failures are our greatest discoveries. Lastly, my heart’s deepest desire is that my students know I care. Without a caring culture all else is wasted, for this is the DNA of our class.
May my students realize that together we are a team learning and experiencing science. Inquiry and developing scientific solutions and reasoning is a part of the unique experience of my class, and may they fall in love with the vast ocean of the unknown that exists. May they explore how immense and full of wonder that science offers us, and long for answers and explanations to their curiosity and to the authentic experiences we face together."
Can't wait to see what we do next!